Prospective Students

Multiple Naval Officers standing outside during sunset

Welcome to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Unit. If you are interested in pursuing an exciting profession as a Navy or Marine Corps officer through our NROTC Program, then this webpage will help answer your questions and guide you through the process.

What is NROTC?

The NROTC Program was established to educate and train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the unrestricted line Naval Reserve or Marine Corps Reserve. As the largest single source of Navy and Marine Corps officers, the NROTC Scholarship Program plays an important role in preparing mature young men and women for leadership and management positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps. Selected applicants for the NROTC Scholarship Program are awarded scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process, and receive full tuition, books, fees and other financial benefits at many of the country's leading colleges and universities. Upon graduation, Midshipmen are commissioned as officers in either the Navy or Marine Corps as active duty officers.

The NROTC Scholarship Program is available to qualified students who graduate from high school before August 1st of the year they intend to start college. Students selected for the NROTC Scholarship Program make their own arrangements for college enrollment and room and board, and take the normal course load required by the college or university for degree completion. Additionally, scholarship midshipmen are required to follow specific academic guidelines. Additional information concerning the NROTC Scholarship Program is available from any of the colleges and universities with NROTC units or from Navy and Marine Corps recruiters.

Why Choose RPI?

Graduates of Rensselaer NROTC go on to be very successful Naval Officers. This level of success has created a strong expectation for RPI MIDN to excel, and facilitates opportunities that may not be present at all ROTC commands. Each year, many of the commissioning class earns a spot in the Navy's highly competitive Nuclear Propulsion Program. Rensselaer has had a 100% success rate at Naval Nuclear Power School. Additionally, students from RPI are very competitive for prestigious naval programs. In the past year, two out of six MIDN selected nationally for the Burke Scholarship were from RPI. This program allows students to study at the Naval Postgraduate School following their first sea tour in the fleet.

At Rensselear, each scholarship student of the Naval, Army, and Air Force ROTC units receives an additional scholarship that is intended to cover the full cost of housing. While living on campus, all expenses associated with college are covered, including the student's room, university feeds, and the student's meal plan. If a student decides to live off campus after sophomore year, they receive a monetary benefit equivalent to the on-campus cost.

At NROTCURPI has a strong legacy of military service, producing exceptional officers since it was officially commissioned in September, 1941, Rensselaer is proud to have educated many future Flag Officers, among the most of any NROTC unit in the country. Two astronauts have also called RPI home. This legacy of excellence follows MIDN as they enter their naval careers, and as they look for employment at separation from the service.

The top tier status of RPI academics and the flexible nature of the NROTC program give students unique opportunities to expand their cultural or academic knowledge. NROTC students from RPI have completed internships at prominent companies such as General Dynamics, NASA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Navel Nuclear Laboratory. Additionally, students have the option to spend a semester studying with one of the many colleges affiliated with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Students have studied in Australia and various places throughout Europe.

MIDN or NROTCURPI are placed in leadership positions throughout their time at Rensselaer, enabling them to develop confidence and competence before they begin their career. The unique ship's company structure of the unit models what MIDN will experience in the fleet and allows underclassmen to have more leadership positions. From their first day in the program, MIDN are empowered to initiate and lead events or programs they believe will benefit the unit.

The Rensselaer community is very supportive of the NROTC mission. MIDN have the ability to register for all classes first and have access to academic advising. These resources help the student earn an engineering degree within four years. The university also offers tutoring in each of the introductory math and physics courses. In their freshman year, each student will get a math, chemistry, and physics mentor to help them transition to a college level curriculum, and ensure their technical foundation is strong. The unit furthers this commitment to student support by providing a tutor for MIDN to use, and by hosting upperclassmen-led study sessions to support first and second year students.

MIDN regularly have the opportunity to work on restoring the USS Slater (DE-766). This allows MIDN to interact with and support the local community while learning about the engineering aspects of this historic warship, many of which carry through to modern ships.

NROTC midshipmen have the advantage of balance. They enjoy the same college experience as any other student while receiving the professional education and training necessary to serve as Navy and Marine Corps officers. At RPI, MIDN ore supported by a diverse, high performing group of young men and women working towards their technical education. The competitive nature of the academic program and the supportive nature of fellow students pushes RPI MIDN to achieve and excel at an exceptional level. RPI students also often find enjoyment in visiting New York City and Boston, which are both reachable in under three hours by train. Additionally, many students spend their free time hiking in the Adirondack Mountains, known for having hundreds of beautiful trails for all skill levels.

Rensselaer is home to just under 6500 undergraduate students. This creates a small, close-knit feeling on campus where it is not difficult for each student to find their place. Students at RPI benefit from having small class sizes following their introductory classes, allowing them to form mentorship bonds with their professors and TAs.

RPI has a strong Student Veteran community of both undergraduate and graduate students. This allows MIDN to interact with and seek mentorship from people who have been in the operational environment they are to enter. It also allows MIDN to diversify their perspective, learning from and gaining the perspective of both enlisted and officer service members. 

Schedule a Visit

NROTCURPI offers both a brief officer interview as well as a more in depth Midshipman shadowing experience. We offer the officer interview for students applying to the NROTC national scholarship. The interview will be approximately one hour long.

For students interested in NROTC at RPI, we also offer a Midshipman shadowing program. This flexible itinerary can be adjusted to fit your interests.

To schedule an officer interview or shadow a Midshipman for a day, please click here: Schedule Officer Interview or Midshipman Shadowing Day 

Our Administrative Staff may also be contacted at (518) 276-6251 or email

How Can I Apply?

Prospective students have two options to apply to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Naval ROTC program: Scholarship Program or College Program.  High school students and first year college students may apply for a National Scholarship between April 1st and December 31st.  Prospective students who did not apply for, or were not awarded, a National Scholarship may still apply to join RPI Naval ROTC via the College Program.  Much like a “walk-on” in athletics, the College Program allows students to participate in Naval ROTC and affords them the opportunity to earn a three or two year scholarship.

Naval ROTC Scholarship benefits include full tuition, mandatory fees, a book allowance, uniforms, and a monthly stipend to students wishing to become a commissioned officer and serve on active duty for at least five years in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.  The NROTC scholarship is merit based and, once activated, minimum levels of academic, aptitude, and physical fitness performance are required to maintain the scholarship.  Application and program requirements can be found at A summary of steps to applying for NROTC are listed below:

  1. Apply for the National Scholarship online.
    If you are a high school or college student with less than 30 college credits apply for the National Scholarship by visiting
  2. Schedule Officer Interview

    As part of the NROTC application, each student must interview with an NROTC Staff Officer. This can be arranged by your recruiter, or simply scheduled at any NROTC unit desired. To schedule and Officer Interview at RPI, click here. 

  3. Apply to NROTC affiliated Institutions
    The National Scholarship application requires prospective students to list 5 of the NROTC affiliated college universities. At least one of theses schools must be "in-state" for the student. Note that an application to the NROTC program does not constitute an application for the listed schools. A prospective NROTC student must apply to each of their requested schools through the school's university admissions process. It is highly recommended to apply to these universities as early as possible.

    For informaiton on how to apply for admission to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, please visit the RPI Admissions page. 

  4. Complete DODMERB Medical Qualification
    In order to participate in NROTC, you must become medically qualified. Once you receive confirmation that you have been awarded an NROTC scholarship, instructions for completing your DODMERB physical will be sent. It is highly recommended that you start this process as early as possible. 

If you are a high school student or college student who was already awarded a National Scholarship, congratulations!  The nation-wide selection process is highly competitive, so you should be justifiably proud.  We want you to be a part of NROTCURPI!

If you did not apply for, or were not awarded, a National Scholarship, it is still possible for you to attend RPI as a Naval ROTC midshipman. If accepted, you will become a member of the Naval ROTC program and receive many of the same education and training opportunities as Scholarship midshipmen. College Program students receive uniforms and Naval Science textbooks at no cost. You will not incur a service obligation for joining as a College Program midshipman unless you are awarded a scholarship or “advanced standing.”

College Program midshipmen have the opportunity to compete nationally for a three or two year Naval ROTC Scholarship or for College Program “advanced standing.”  Both provide a path to commissioning as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps.  Students not selected for a scholarship or “advanced standing” before their junior year are not normally allowed to continue in the program.     

To Apply to Be a Part of the College Program:

Schedule and Officer Interview or Contact the Freshman Class Advisor.

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